Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities

UNION workers will go on strike at oil and gas offshore facilities and platforms in the coming weeks, according to information obtained by Energy News this morning.
Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities Unions to organise protests aboard offshore facilities

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

Leaked information outlines union plans to conduct a ‘protected action' strike aboard Shell's Prelude floating LNG vessel offshore Western Australia, as well as other offshore facilities.

In an application to the Fair Work Commission in late February, the Australian Workers Union, and Maritime Union of Australia - which work together as a coalition called the Offshore Alliance - filed for protected action against contractor Sodexo and called a ballot of members.

Members of the two unions voted unanimously in taking action over an impasse on working arrangements and a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement with contractor Sodexo.

Sodexo provides catering, cooking and cleaning staff to oil and gas facilities including Shell's Prelude FLNG project, and Inpex's offshore facilities. 

Unions claim Sodexo workers are paid the "lowest wages" and suffer "horrible conditions."

Sodexo was brought to the table over a new enterprise bargaining agreement after unions took the company to the Fair Work Commission two years ago, and then again in mid-2019.

With the application for protected action successfully accepted by the FWC, union members will now be allowed to strike on board offshore platforms and FPSOs, if they choose to, in an attempt to pressure Sodexo into their demands for higher pay.

A source with knowledge of the matter said the unions "definitely intended to take protected action."

"The unions will give Sodexo seven days' notice. As always, the lines of communication remain open, but in the absence of a solid agreement at this stage it looks like strikes will go ahead."

Sodexo did not respond to requests for comment.